Les Blank

Les Blank: Always for Pleasure

Les Blank: Always for Pleasure

An uncompromisingly independent filmmaker, Les Blank made documentaries for nearly fifty years, elegantly disappearing with his camera into cultural spots rarely seen on-screen—mostly on the peripheries of the United States, but also occasionally abroad. Seemingly off-the-cuff yet poetically constructed, these films are humane, sometimes wry, always engaging tributes to music, food, and all sorts of regionally specific delights. This collector’s set provides a diverse survey of Les Blank’s vast output, including fourteen of his best-known works and eight related short films.
For more information on the individual films, click here.

Film Info

  • Les Blank
  • United States
  • 1968
  • 563 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.33:1
  • English
  • Spine #737

Special Features

  • New 2K digital restorations of all fourteen films, with uncompressed monaural or stereo soundtracks on the Blu-rays:
  • Excerpt from Les Blank: A Quiet Revelation, a film project by Harrod Blank and Gina Leibrecht
  • New interviews with Blank’s sons, Harrod and Beau; Blank documentary subject Gerald Gaxiola (a.k.a. the Maestro); Blank’s friends and collaborators Skip Gerson, Maureen Gosling, Taylor Hackford, Werner Herzog, Susan Kell, Tom Luddy, David Silberberg, and Chris Simon; and chef and author Alice Waters
  • Related shorts by Blank: The Sun’s Gonna Shine (1968), More Fess (1978), Julie: Old Time Tales of the Blue Ridge (1991), My Old Fiddle: A Visit with Tommy Jarrell in the Blue Ridge (1994), and The Maestro Rides Again (2005)
  • Two outtake performances from The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Andrew Horton

New cover by Eric Skillman

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New 2K digital restorations of all fourteen films, with uncompressed monaural or stereo soundtracks on the Blu-rays:
  • Excerpt from Les Blank: A Quiet Revelation, a film project by Harrod Blank and Gina Leibrecht
  • New interviews with Blank’s sons, Harrod and Beau; Blank documentary subject Gerald Gaxiola (a.k.a. the Maestro); Blank’s friends and collaborators Skip Gerson, Maureen Gosling, Taylor Hackford, Werner Herzog, Susan Kell, Tom Luddy, David Silberberg, and Chris Simon; and chef and author Alice Waters
  • Related shorts by Blank: The Sun’s Gonna Shine (1968), More Fess (1978), Julie: Old Time Tales of the Blue Ridge (1991), My Old Fiddle: A Visit with Tommy Jarrell in the Blue Ridge (1994), and The Maestro Rides Again (2005)
  • Two outtake performances from The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Andrew Horton

New cover by Eric Skillman

Les Blank: Always for Pleasure

From The Current

A Mouthful of Blank in New Orleans

Repertory Picks

A Mouthful of Blank in New Orleans

Tonight, Shotgun Cinema in New Orleans screens a piquant sampling of the wildly idiosyncratic documentaries of Les Blank.

On Film / In Theaters
Sep 21, 2017
Tunde Adebimpe’s Top 10

Tunde Adebimpe is the lead singer of the Brooklyn-based band TV on the Radio. In addition to his music, he is also an animator, visual artist, and actor.


Aug 25, 2016
Les Blank: Always for Pleasure
Les Blank: Always for Pleasure

The challenge of designing this box set was in finding a way to convey both the vast scope of the filmmaker’s overarching project—documenting the unique idiosyncrasies of regions and communities rarely seen on film—and the warm, casual intimacy

Alice Waters on Garlic
Alice Waters on Garlic

A film about garlic? Only Les Blank could pull it off. In this clip from a new supplement on our release Les Blank: Always for Pleasure, we get the story of how Blank’s pungent documentary Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers came about from his colla…

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Dec 5, 2014
A Well Spent Life: No Man Like Mance
A Well Spent Life: No Man Like Mance

Les Blank’s documentaries focusing on musicians are wonderfully easygoing and authentic. Watching films like A Well Spent Life, a 1971 portrait of Texas blues guitarist Mance Lipscomb, one senses a relationship of total trust between subjects and f…

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Dec 2, 2014
Always for Pleasure: How to Cook and Eat a Crawfish
Always for Pleasure: How to Cook and Eat a Crawfish

The famous Franky & Johnny’s is just one of many places in New Orleans you can get crawfish, a city specialty. But it’s the only one that Les Blank turned to when he was making Always for Pleasure, his invigorating celebration of the Big Easy…

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Nov 26, 2014
Werner Herzog on Les Blank
Werner Herzog on Les Blank

There are few greater admirers of the late documentarian Les Blank than the legendary German filmmaker Werner Herzog. (The two were already close when Blank filmed the making of Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo for Burden of Dreams.) So we knew we wanted to t…

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Nov 24, 2014